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Gaming PC Build - AMD FX-8350 / GTX 780 / Fractal Design R4

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philip Aug. 8, 2013

When Ryan joined PCPartPicker, one of the first things I wanted him to do was put together a build for the site. With an AMD build being long overdue, I tasked him with creating a part list utilizing an AMD FX-8350.

The part list and prices at the time of this post:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Type Item Price
CPU AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core Processor $179.99 @ Microcenter
CPU Cooler Swiftech H220 55.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler $150.98 @ Newegg
Motherboard MSI 990FXA-GD80V2 ATX AM3+ Motherboard $170.97 @ Outlet PC
Memory Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ~$60
Storage Samsung 840 Pro Series 512GB 2.5" Solid State Disk $439.99 @ NCIX US
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card $659.99 @ Amazon
Case Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (White) ATX Mid Tower Case $89.99 @ Newegg
Power Supply NZXT HALE90 V2 850W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX Power Supply $185.98 @ SuperBiiz
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available. $1937.89
Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-08-08 10:28 EDT-0400


The build went reasonably well, though we did run into a few snags - some our fault, others outside our control.

RAM clearance issue

Ryan was set on using Avexir RAM with white LEDs, but in the end it just didn't fit. The Swiftech H220 cooler obstructed the first of the RAM slots - which was unfortunate as the motherboard manual states that is one that must be populated even if you run with only two sticks of RAM.

Instead we used some low profile Crucial RAM that conveniently came bundled for free when we were purchasing parts. However, it turns out that that specific model of RAM has issues with some systems, including this build. The system wouldn't boot, so we swapped it out for low profile Samsung RAM which booted without an issue.

GTX 780

We also planned on using a Sapphire Vapor-X 6GB 7970, but switched out to an EVGA GTX 780 at the last minute. At the time we originally planned the build, the 780 had not been released yet. Because we had custom sleeved cables made specifically for the 8-pin/8-pin PCI-E power connectors on the 7970, they didn't fit the 6-pin/8-pin PCI-E power connector set on the GTX 780. Our cable sleever Jappetto sent us a new cable, but by that point we had already finished filming.



Overall the Fractal Design R4 is an attractive case, but you can see the amount of flex it exhibits at various points in the video. I wish that it had more space up top for a radiator and fans, as the H220 was completely touching the motherboard VRM heatsinks - something I'm not particularly fond of. We would have loved to put the radiator on the front, but there wasn't enough depth to fit it there either.


We'll be running benchmarks and doing performance and thermal analysis soon, so keep an eye out for follow-up posts on this build!

Comments Sorted by:

thesupergeek 3 Builds 11 points 69 months ago

i always unscrew and screw things like the cooler bracket and the motherboard in like an x. the top left, then bottom right, top right and bottom left. I noticed you did not do this, and I figure it is fine, but its just a habit I have gotten into.

manirelli staff 8 Builds 5 points 69 months ago

I generally do the same. Multiple takes and my first time doing a guide threw me off a little bit.

thesupergeek 3 Builds 5 points 69 months ago

wow. I was totally not expecting you to respond. this is really cool. I love pcpartpicker. It feels like such a cool comunity, because it is so small like this.

manirelli staff 8 Builds 3 points 69 months ago

I'm really glad you enjoy the site. If there's ever anything you would like to see us do whether it is features, guides, or builds just let me know!

thesupergeek 3 Builds 3 points 69 months ago

I would really like to see a guide on how to set up an open loop watercooling system in a mini-itx build. I have tried several times on many mini itx cases from a bitfenix prodigy to a cooler master elite 212 (don't remind me, that did not end well.) And I cant seem to get it to work. I guess I cant wrap my 14year old brain around it :P. a build tutorial would be great.

manirelli staff 8 Builds 8 points 69 months ago

We plan to add wc parts in the future so keep an eye out for a build like that in the future.

JForce522 2 Builds 2 points 69 months ago

Singularity Computers on youtube has a couple Prodigy builds, so look those up.

slykrysis 3 Builds 2 points 69 months ago

You'll see some names like IAmApropos and some other big guys on here a lot. I tend to be on here a good part of my day even though I don't have that many builds. But yes, PCPP is a fantastic community.

IamApropos 3 Builds 3 points 69 months ago

tell me about it, the first couple live builds I did with me walking someone through an entire build over skype and their webcam threw me off completely with the smallest things. Your video was great and I hope to see more in the future.

slykrysis 3 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

Happens to the best of us, but good build even though you had a few kinks.

hmzhl6 1 Build 3 points 69 months ago

Nice! I have the same case for my build. Any particular reason not putting the SSD on the back side?

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 69 months ago

We looked at that, but the mounting screws are through the motherboard plate - meaning if you ever wanted to take your SSD out, you'd have to remove your motherboard to do so! Ouch! Alternatively, you could mount it with double stick tape, velcro tape, etc. But we figured we'd just use one of the drive bays.

Jimmy 1 point 69 months ago

Gigabyte and Asus are generally the way to go with AMD boards from my experience. Fortunately though, that is one of the only reliable overclocking boards that MSI makes for 990FX. However I have heard that board does not have LLC, I don't know whether that is true or not though.

Also, may I ask, where did you find that ram? I thought Samsung quit manufacturing it months ago, and it's out of stock at every retailer.

manirelli staff 8 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

We had some laying around from previous purchases. I wish it would come back to market though I heard a rumor some of the newer avexir ram is based off of it.

Jimmy 1 point 69 months ago

Really? I may have to check that out then, thanks.

paross2 1 point 69 months ago

This system looks very sharp. Could you do a cost breakdown?

I'd love to see you all do a "budget gaming rig". I'm going to be a missionary so my expendable income is very low, but I'd still love to get back into PC gaming (I switched to Mac for video editing).

Thanks for putting this site together, very cool guys!

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

For the cost breakdown, right below the video (at the top of the post) is a table breaking down the prices of the various components along with a total.

For the budget gaming rig, we did one back around last December that might be worth checking out: https://pcpartpicker.com/blog/budget-gaming-build-core-i3-2120-radeon-hd-7750 Granted, things have changed a bit since then, so at the same price point you should be able to get a bit more for the same budget. At that price point, the choices are very limited, but as you move up (particularly in the ~$800 range), you start to have a lot more flexibility on where you allocate your money.

paross2 2 points 69 months ago

The fact that you all take the time to reply to people really rocks Philip. I am very impressed with the personal nature of the site, the quality and the community you all are building. Thanks for putting this out there for everyone!

Mattkx4 1 point 67 months ago

Missionary as in LDS? If so I know how you feel :P

paross2 1 point 67 months ago

I'm not LDS, we'll be working for an organization that translates the Bible globally for places that have no scripture.

Mattkx4 1 point 67 months ago


Apach3 3 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

that's one of the most expensive AMD systems i've ever seen on this site. that being said, very well done indeed! i can't wait to get my own FX-8350 tomorrow!

tmladd 1 point 69 months ago

Cool build! I am getting parts soon to build my own pc, since I have been since the playstation (original) playing on console. I was wondering though just to make sure, is this (http://pcpartpicker.com/user/tmladd/saved/22lx) a good build for the budget? I am going to be getting the parts in about a week or two.

Fluffytaco 1 point 69 months ago

That SSD and wireless adapter have horrible reviews, the thermal paste's conductivity rating isnt impressive and you do not need 16 gb of RAM for gaming (8gb 1333-1600 is plenty).

All the rest looks just fine to me :)

Isaiah4110 1 point 69 months ago

I thought AS-5 was one of the better thermal paste options out there? What paste(s) would be more highly recommended?

slykrysis 3 Builds 2 points 69 months ago

It is, AS5 is one of the best and most consistently awarded thermal paste. I don't use anything else, honestly.

Fluffytaco 1 point 69 months ago

Oh thats odd, initially I saw this Masscool Fanner-420(http://pcpartpicker.com/part/masscool-thermal-paste-fanner420)in the build. The AS-5 is good indeed, but I personally use one that is fairly similar and the NT-H1 from Noctua that comes with the coolers is also very good.

Jimmy 1 point 69 months ago

I've heard MX4 is slightly better than AS5.

Sprocket30 2 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

Nice build !

Do you think the heat from the ram will warp or melt the cpu cooling loop?

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 69 months ago

Not at all - the RAM barely heats up at all.

Isaiah4110 1 point 69 months ago

Nice looking build and I look forward to seeing some of the benchmark results. Would it be possible to include the price of the custom wiring in the breakdown?

Is there any specific reason the radiator was oriented with the tubing towards the back of the case?

The tubing appears to the running really close to the back panel fan.

18hockey 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

Do you think you'll ever do a build with a 7990? I'd love to see that :D

Leotech 1 point 69 months ago

These videos are always useful.

But I know this sounds rather stupid but the things I worry about the most in a build is usually the instaltion of software in a build. It would be usefuk to see a video on general things you could or should do when setting up software. Like changing the settings for SSDs and setting up your hardware to the optimal settings. You know just those little things.

gogo809 3 Builds 2 points 69 months ago

Step 1: Install OEM windows. Step 2: Go to ninite.com and choose all the programs you use. Step 3: Download installer and run it. Step 4: Profit

(If it is not a custom computer that you install windows on, and it has crapware or bloatware already installed on it. Replace step 1 with: download and run pcdecrapifier.)

Recommended free software you can get from ninite:

  • chrome
  • notepad++
  • vlc
  • paint.net
  • picasa
  • open office
  • MS Essentials
  • google earth
  • steam
  • auslogics
  • glary utilities
  • win 8 only Classic start
  • 7 zip
Leotech 1 point 69 months ago

Thanks for that, I actually recently found that out from LinusTechTips a couple of days back.

Hey do the drivers you get with let's say a graphics card, will they update themselves once and free you install them.

gogo809 3 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

nope. Windows will install some default drivers, but they are generally old and not well thought of. Go to amd or nVidias site to get the latest and greatest. Just google it. Both of them have a similar landing page where you select your product family before they offer a download page. AMD offers Catalyst "suit" which includes the drivers and a control program to change GPU options. nVidia has a similar program.

Leotech 1 point 69 months ago

Thanks, I thought that might be the case. Why can't it be easy?

LarryRow 1 Build 1 point 68 months ago

Seriously, it's certainly harder than it needs to be. The disks that come with gpus and motherboards could have little apps on them that autodetect your system hardware and settings and download the appropriate driver from the manufacturer website.

For a really good tutorial on installing Windows and drivers, check out this Newegg link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxaVBsXEiok

I agree that the BIOS options can be a bit overwhelming. Really, you don't want to go messing with clock rates and voltages unless you know what you're doing. If your BIOS reports your RAM clock lower than advertised, that might be a good opportunity to learn some of that stuff as you work towards safely clocking it up to what it should be. A lot of modern motherboards come with utilities than run under windows and accomplish a lot of the same tasks as the BIOS. For example, I changed the fan profile on my ASUS board in Windows.

Ryude 1 point 69 months ago

Certainly an attractive build! I look forward to the benchmarks, thermal analysis, and acoustics.

Psymon 1 point 69 months ago

I own that case, it's brilliant.

MapRef41N93W 1 point 69 months ago

Why one earth would you spend 1900$ on an AMD PC? Does that not defeat the entire purpose of AMD (budget gaming)? You may as well have just spent the extra 300$ on an Intel CPU and Mobo.

Alar 1 point 69 months ago

I'm wondering the same, My goal was to take the best of the AMD and mix it with random stuff to get under 500 and so far its pretty easy also he shot himself in the foot with the storage device Samsung is the best but he could have gotten a 128gb or 256gb and combined with and external or another HHD of the sort.

tomgentle3 1 point 69 months ago

Would a 7850 fit in this case? I really like this case but I'm not sure if the card would fit?


philip staff submitter 10 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

Absolutely. You'd have no problem fitting that in an R4.

tomgentle3 1 point 69 months ago

Thanks Philip! Another quick question. What is benefit of a 990FX over a 970 motherboard?

nxtfari 1 point 68 months ago

Not Phil, but since he hasn't responded, I'll fill you in (ha!). 970, 990X, and 990FX are very similar chipsets, except that the latter two have better performance for CrossFire/SLI. If you're only using a single GPU, then a 970 board will do fine.

kelanyu 1 point 69 months ago

Nice post! I Is there any particular reason to choose MSI 990FXA over Gigabyte 990FXA?

korgy 1 point 69 months ago

You actually should be able to fit the radiator up front. You can move that bottom hard drive cage back by unscrewing it from the bottom. 4 screws (that are nicely in the same arrangement as a 120 mm fan btw) and then you can slide it over and screw it back in to the holes that are already there on the bottom of the case. If you need to go further, you can drill a couple more holes if you are comfortable doing it.

Mordecia 1 Build 1 point 68 months ago

I think you could go with some faster ram. The motherboard supports up to 2133.

Timberbeast 1 point 68 months ago

I have Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core $199.99 CPU Cooler-Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing $26.99 Motherboard-Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H ATX LGA1155 $139.99 Memory-G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 $28.99 Case-Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower $79.99 Power Supply-Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V $99.99 Operating System-Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) $79.99 Custom WD Blue 640gb
and looking to buy a 760 GPU with the R4 what cooler style should I get? I am thinking blower to get the heat out of the case.

Mr._Funtimes 1 point 68 months ago

this is actually a decent computer! Especialy compared to the $10,000 from last video xD

gaussman 1 point 68 months ago

I recently made a rig using the Fx8350, I love this thing so much :) Battlefield runs smooth as a lake of liquid butter.

kreotis 1 point 67 months ago

I picked up that same mobo with the free ram and had the issue with not booting as well. The ram may have problems with incompatibility out of the box but its possible to use them if you're in a pinch. I ended up having to put them in slots 2&4 and clocked lower but I also significantly tightened the timings up to compensate.

Running them on the lowest divider at 300fsb which equals 1200mhz total. Timings are; 6-7-6-17-23 1T @1.65v in unganged mode.

Anything above 1450mhz~ or so just wouldn't boot at all no matter what combination of voltages or timings I used.

sirideain 1 point 67 months ago

I don't know if anyone else mentioned it but you can remove the large 3.5" drive cage for better airflow.

rconian 1 point 66 months ago

In the video they say Crucial Ballistix Low Profile ram, but list Samsung ram? I wanna do this build but confused by that part. Anyone able to clear this up for me before I order anything? I already have 1600 Gskill Ram but it isnt low profile.

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 1 point 66 months ago

the write up is a bit more on this, but the gist of it is that the ballistix RAM had issues on this particular system that didn't show up until booting after filming was complete. Thus we switched to some Samsung RAM we had on hand to get it to boot.

SeanM 1 Build 0 points 69 months ago

I tend to gravitate away from AMD, but this is looking like a pretty legit compootah. Where do you get your custom sleeving done?

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 69 months ago

The cabling was done by Reddit user Jappetto. He also did the cables for our H630 build.

slykrysis 3 Builds 2 points 69 months ago

Any pricing info you can share with us on that? =D

faggofi -1 points 69 months ago

amd ftw

Scoutmaster -3 points 69 months ago

Are you serious on the video card? Throw on a Nvidia GTX 690 Superclocked gpu, it's better than the 780 AND the Titan. Higher numbers do not mean it's better.

Fluffytaco -6 points 69 months ago

I just don't like this build. Most parts seems just slapped there without much reasoning although it does look pretty. As mentioned this had no other purpose than to showcase a AMD FX build but its sloppy and it shows. I also personally do not like closed loop coolers mostly because of the hefty price and insignificant cooling performance increase.

Impeccable cable management (to be expected) Clumsy thermal paste application Middle HDD cage not removed

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 4 points 69 months ago

It's unfortunate you don't like the build or aspects of its assembly, but we certainly can't please everyone. I regret you assume the purpose of the build as you did, as we have more reasoning than just featuring an AMD CPU - we have longer term plans for the components used, such as benchmarking. Ryan chose the parts thoughtfully and carefully, though we did make some last minute changes as mentioned in the description.

gogo809 3 Builds 2 points 69 months ago

Closed loop coolers outperform air in overclocking scenarios. They are priced for the market they serve. They also cool better with less total surface area, so some cases cannot fit a big air cooler, but maybe a H60 will fit in there.

The Swiftech 220 is so awesome for a closed loop cooler. It has the capability for future expansion into a more complete loop that also cools your RAM or GPU. It is expensive compared even to most closed loop coolers, but all the components in it are quite good.

Big air has its place, and certainly performs perfectly, even for heavy overclocks, but if you are going for a "top end system", there is no reason to avoid closed loop systems.

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philip staff submitter 10 Builds 3 points 69 months ago

Did you seriously create an account just to post that?

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